(I have been doing lots of reading just lately and although i have read through this book, it will always be a work in progress. The book is due for release on the 5 November 2013. I hope you enjoy it has much as i did! Sorry for the long post)
Ever since my teenage years I have written a Journal. Sometimes the entries have been consecutive, but at other times there have been gaps of several days. Some of my entries have been about my day to day life, the weather, my family, etc, but some entries have been about my inner most thoughts and feelings the things we try to run away from.
There are times in life when mind has intertwined with soul while it is trying to figure out how we ended up where we have landed. Often life is fraught with uncertainties and eventually we experience death and grief on a very personal level. No one can escape death and grief! Not even I can do that. At these times we search the very fibers of our beings, both physical and psychological, heart, mind and soul to come up with some reason or other. Often questions are left unanswered or dreams unfilled and everything gets buried and we try to forget.
Writing To Wake The Soul written by Karen Hering is a bridge between what is going on around us and what is at the heart and soul of the matter. From the very first pages of this book or even the very first words it felt like I had come home. Here is a book that is not telling me it has the answers but is telling me a way to find the answers within myself. As no two people are alike, no two people can find the answers to our problems in the same way either even if it is the same problem.
The book is split into two parts. Part One is an outline of the book, you could say it’s an elongated introduction or even an ‘how to’. How to – get the best out of Part Two. In Part One we are introduced to the concept of Spiritual Writing. We are informed that it is a way of connecting the physical to the psychological (or I would say the Spirit) this is known as ’embodied cognition’. Karen Hering describes in detail the word ‘metaphor’ and how by using metaphors we can gain deeper understanding. Such metaphors has ‘time flies’ and doesn’t it just…
She then goes on to explain that those three little dots is called an elipsis (English ellipsis) something I didn’t know although I have often used them. An ellipses gives the reader a pause, a break, thinking time, time to allow the reader to add their own thoughts and feelings or even the ending.
Part Two brings together our understanding of metaphors and ellipses to deepen our spiritual practice. In part two there are 10 prompts; Faith, Prayer, Sin, Love, Justice, Redemption, Hope, Grace, Hospitality and Reverence. Although all these prompts can be seen has religious Hering points out that our spiritual practice and writing is ours and ours alone. We can take each prompt on its own and in any order we please although the author advises that we start with Faith and work through the prompts in the order they are in the book. She also points out that although you can jump straight into Part two you may find it useful to read through Part one first.
I read the Introduction and a little bit of Part one before I jumped into Part two. In Part Two however, I did start with Faith, at the same time continuing to read through Part One of the book and I read it several times for further understanding. I did get a feeling of needing to get it right, although the book clearly states there is no right way and we are our own greatest critiques, proves a point! Each prompt starts with asking you to brainstorm a list of words connected to the prompt. From these words will come your daily writing. Karen Hering talks about making a covenant with yourself or if you are working in a group, with the group. Also if you need to you should seek either a spiritual leader or a counsellor for further guidance.
It is a beautiful book. I loved it from the first page. It is not a book you can read and then put down and forget about. It is about daily practice. It is about commitment to yourself. It is about giving yourself time to work through whatever ails you so you can begin to heal. It reminds me of The Artist Way by Julia Cameron, (I mention it here because it is mentioned in the book) through writing we can begin to find peace. It has already made me think deeply about my faith and what if anything I actually have faith in. I have started my practice but I have yet to make a covenant with myself and a commitment that I will practice daily. There is a lot to take in and a lot to work through and you may want a friend along for the journey.